We have had several readers write in about house trucks, which isn’t a new concept by any means, but perhaps a precursor to tiny houses? They have a certain charm to them that RV’s lack and makes me think of gypsies for some reason. Anyway, there is some romantic appeal to them that I can’t put my finger on but regardless they represent a subculture in the Tiny House Community.
The Morisons exhibited their self-sufficient wooden house-truck, customized from a decommissioned fire engine and containing, next to a stove and pot plants, a library of apocalypse-themed fiction. Tales of Space and Time, as it was called, embodied a jauntily over-optimistic attitude to surviving the end of the world, simultaneously mocking the ‘art will save us all’ attitude of some contemporary civic reformists. Art won’t save Folkestone. I hope something does though – something real, something solid.
Jonathan Griffin, Folkestone Triennial, Frieze, Issue 117 September 2008
Ivan Morison: What made you build your first truck?
Roger Beck: The first one I call my escape vehicle! I grew up in LA, a metropolitan, screwy city. And so it just got to the point where I just had to get out. So I left a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t want to get rid of at my parent’s house and got into my first house car and headed north. I couldn’t head south ’cause I had long hair and didn’t want to cross the Mexican border; I couldn’t go any further west; the east coast was nothing more than big cities to me and so I decided to go to Canada!
So, it was my escape route. I got to Oregon and then I did a stupid thing. Me and a friend ripped a tape deck out of a logging truck and I was arrested the same day and I was put on five-years probation. And in those five years I built my second house-truck that had a lot of problems. I drove it to California again to see my parents and my father and I built my third truck. He really helped me build a house on the back of a truck. I travelled most of my travels in that one.
I had the idiosyncrasy of trying to distinguish myself as a New Age American Gypsy and not a hippy living in a school bus with a bunch of mattresses in the back. That’s not a house-truck, that’s because you’re homeless and you can’t afford to live in an apartment, which you’d prefer to do. I had no desire to live in a house. I had my house; it was just on wheels.
Ivan: Was there anyone doing this before you in America?
Roger: For me, when you think about house trucks you’ve got to go back to the depression. People were living in rigs because they couldn’t afford to live anywhere else.